Friday, May 25, 2012

You want the dirty words too?

There is a debate about the broadcast position between the benches during NHL games. Some believe that Pierre McGuire from NBC and Glenn Healy from HNIC should have told viewers what was being said between the two head coaches in the NYR/N.J series. Really? Does anyone really believe the journalistic integrity of either broadcast was cheapened by not repeating the insults and swearing between the two coaches?

The short sighted nature of this request is the fact that, the position between the benches is not one the teams have to allow. If commentators start relating exact verbiage of coaches or players exchanges it would not be long before teams refused to allow access to that area and then the viewer’s get nothing from that perspective. The other reality is families watch these broadcasts. You don't want kids hearing those words.

The print journalists who are up in arms over this are hypocrites. I don't know any print journalists who don't keep off the record conversations private; knowing that burning a source means they will never trust you again. You might be a star for one day, but then never get another piece of important information from that source. The perspective of keeping some information private to allow you to have a relationship with a source which will get you the big story later is not new and in fact happens every day. The print journalists who claim "viewers have a right to know" make me laugh. Print journalists withhold juicy information every day but somehow they are journalists and the men between the benches are shills?

If you want the between the bench perspective live, you have to accept that they will tell you about what they are yelling about but not the words they use. They will tell you a player is injured but not what the injury is. They will tell you about the general theme of a coach's speech to his players, but not the exact script. More than that means the privilege of being between the benches will be revoked.

The contention that a separate audio feed could be provided for a fee so fans who want to hear every word is also not realistic. The cost of a separate feed could never be recouped and how many fans really want to hear coaches and players swearing? Is it really that big a thrill? Players and coaches also have to be able to vent emotion within the field of play without being embarrassed in the media for it. They have to be allowed to have some parts of the game which remain theirs alone.

See you at the rink.

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